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Congrats to Amy Sampson as the next president and CEO of CHKD in 2023! We wish James Dahling a wonderful retirement after decades of service to the pediatric health system. We look forward to partnering further with CHKD under Sampson’s leadership!
Governor Youngkin announced that Virginia has been approved for $230 million under the State Small Business Credit Initiative to accelerate the formation and growth of entrepreneurial businesses across the Commonwealth. Read the full release:

Watch What's Happening in the 757

Learn more about the Alliance and its regional economic development efforts in Hampton Roads, VA by watching some of our recent video features, or by following our social media profiles. 

Meet the new Alliance

It is with great pride and excitement, we present to you the new Alliance. As the leading regional economic development organization, the Hampton Roads Alliance (formerly HREDA) serves as a catalyst for new business attraction, business expansion and long-term business environment improvements in Hampton Roads, Virginia. The Alliance works collaboratively and aggressively to attract, grow and retain higher-wage industries and talent to create a more resilient, inclusive and diverse region of choice.

This new name, new logo, new website and all-encompassing new visual identity which launched in May 2020 is the final piece of an evolution. Our team has been collaborating with our public and private investors and regional partners to transform the Alliance for the last 18 months and we are excited to finally have a chance to introduce and share the new Alliance with the local business community! Check out this short video that captures our transformation, and then take some time to explore this new website as it showcases the strength of our organization and our region!

757 Recovery Planning Video Series

The Hampton Roads Alliance, in collaboration with its regional partners, is leading a regional planning effort to emerge from COVID-19 stronger than ever. The planning process is underway and being driven by nearly 100 business leaders working across 10 committees. In our 757 Recovery Planning video series, you’ll hear from some of the best thinkers in the region on where we are now and what’s next.
We will need you to help us build and finalize this plan. This process and the results will be dynamic! You can see our progress and engage with our work at

Watch the Full Series

View by Episode

Season One
Introduction / Update #1 - Doug Smith, Hampton Roads Alliance

Doug Smith, President & CEO of the Hampton Roads Alliance, introduces a new regional initiative known as the 757 Recovery and Resiliency Action Framework. This effort will result in a strategic plan that will ensure Hampton Roads emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than ever.

This Framework is being developed and executed under the leadership of the Hampton Roads Alliance and a coalition of leading business organizations. The plan is being shaped by 10 committees, each developing action plans specific to their sectors or areas of focus. These committees are chaired by some of the region’s most talented leaders and supported by over 100 volunteer committee members, including a number of young professionals and supported by ODU’s Strome College of Business graduate students.

Over the next ten weeks, we will keep you informed and up to date on our progress, and share a series of video episodes that feature local thought leaders sharing their perspective on how we can best leverage the trends and changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. There will also be opportunities for those in the business community to participate in the process by taking surveys and providing feedback on the plans produced by these committees. This is our time to show the world that Hampton Roads is a region with a shared vision to create a more livable, equitable and prosperous community for all businesses and residents.

Stay tuned for future updates and check out all of our work at

Episode #1 — Felicia Blow, Hampton University

Felicia Blow currently serves as the Associate Vice President for Development & Campaign Director at Hampton University. This first video in our 757 Recovery Planning Series addresses Diversity and Inclusion from the intersection of COVID-19, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Felicia shares how in the midst of the pandemic, the nation also began to come to grips with racial inequity in profound ways. In this sense, economic development starts and ends with the people that fuel organizations, not just the organizations themselves.

From Felicia’s enthusiastic perspective, regional recovery efforts will inherently be tied to elevating and supporting marginalized voices in the 757 business community, both during this crisis and long into our development of a "new normal." Felicia makes a compelling case for regionalism during these times, a recurrent theme which you will hear from many of our featured thinkers in future episodes.

To learn more visit

Episode #2 — Robert M. McNab, Old Dominion University

In our second episode, Robert (Bob) M. McNab, provides a holistic perspective on how COVID-19 is affecting the 757 and how it allows for increased collaboration and cohesion. Bob currently serves as Director of the Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy in the Strome College of Business at Old Dominion University.

For Bob, it’s not only a matter of recognizing how dire the situation might be, but also how much of an opportunity it provides for local leaders and the region to come together. He also explains that Wave 1 hasn’t concluded and that future waves and the promise of a future vaccination will rest on how our leaders usher in our collective participation.

See the full 757 Recovery Planning efforts underway at

Episode #3 — Aleea Slappy Wilson, The City of Norfolk

Aleea Slappy Wilson is the City of Norfolk’s first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and LGBTQ Liaison to the City Manager. She is currently the Business Development Manager for the City of Norfolk, driving the city's efforts to help businesses start and grow in the city. In this third episode in our series, Aleea discusses the shortcomings that our local communities have had when it comes to including and serving everyone. In her opinion, COVID-19 revealed areas where the city could make the system work better for all people and businesses, especially marginalized communities. These communities include our senior citizens, those in isolation or alone, our homeless populations, our residents in public housing, and much more.

Aleea also shares that marginalized communities have often, if not always, been kept out of meaningful conversations and community development. While she recognizes these areas where local governments and businesses have room to improve, she looks forward to the future and the change that has been instigated by the realization many have recently had regarding diversity and inclusion in our society.

Check out all the progress our committees have made at

Episode #4 — Jordan Asher, Sentara Healthcare

Episode four of our 757 Planning Recovery series features Dr. Jordan Asher, Senior Vice President, and Chief Physician Executive at Sentara Healthcare. Dr. Asher shares a humble and emotional testimonial as someone that has been on the front lines of this pandemic from the beginning. He challenges everyone to never let a crisis, such as this, go unleveraged.

For Dr. Asher, this moment isn't just about being nimble and flexible in a time of crisis, but also about recognizing the humanity in one another. Additionally, he has some insightful perspectives about what this will mean for both the regional economy and leadership. The local healthcare community has learned a lot about the importance of the domestic supply chain for critical items like PPE, which Dr. Asher sees as an opportunity for Hampton Roads in this arena.

Check out all the progress our committees have made at

Episode #5 — Dr. Erika Marsillac, Ph.D., Old Dominion University

Dr. Erika Marsillac, Ph.D., is currently an Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Strome College of Business at Old Dominion University. In this episode, Dr. Marsillac discusses how our patterns of consumption have changed due to COVID-19. She believes that companies will be more detailed at how they examine their supply chain networks and hopes that we will be able to look into other vital concerns that are more long-term, such as climate change.

Dr. Marsillac believes Hampton Roads has tremendous potential to leverage supply chain opportunities highlighted by the COVID-19 crisis. In a country that now understands the value of supply chains, our port-based economy will position us well for the future. She also acknowledges that the 757’s economy isn’t as diversified as it should be, due to the stabilization that government agencies and the military provide us, and offers some solutions like the “mega-regions".

The 757 Recovery Plan is taking shape. Up next is your input and feedback on draft 1 of the plan.Check out all the progress our committees have made at

Episode #6 — Shawn Avery, Hampton Roads Workforce Council

In our sixth episode, Shawn Avery, President, and CEO of the Hampton Roads Workforce Council (HRWC), dives into how his company is moving forward with such high unemployment numbers. Shawn shares that HRWC has reevaluated how they are providing their services to their community and have implemented means such as Zoom interviews and webinars to assist people in the employment process.

One key feature of workforce development that has surfaced because of COVID-19 is the need for “re-training” opportunities. This area of training and development is critical in transitioning displaced workers into new, growing fields. Despite an overwhelmingly negative impact the crisis has had on our local businesses and local workforce, Shawn is optimistic and gives an inside look as to how HRWC is now able to provide its services. He believes this crisis has given them more “tools in their toolbox.”

Our 10 committees are hard at work, but we need your help. Provide your input and feedback on draft 1 of the plan, available at

Episode #7 — John Martin, SIR Institute for Tomorrow

In episode seven, John Martin, President/CEO of SIR Institute for Tomorrow frames the 757's current recovery through the lens of five wider sociological trends across the business community. Throughout his discussion, he repeatedly ties his points back to Hampton Roads and the importance of focusing on the region's appeal to people as much as its appeal to business, especially in a society that has recently discovered that many employees can work from anywhere via remote work.

He also concludes with the optimistic suggestion that the 757 is primed for this type of reorientation. In fact, the process has really already begun.

Please visit to download your copy of SIR’s “Five COVID-19 Trends” that will shape your business. To learn more about our 757 Recovery Planning efforts, check out

Episode #8 — Jeff Johnson, Tech Center Research Park

Jeff Johnson is a Director at the Tech Center Research Park, where he leads development and innovation efforts. In episode eight, Jeff shares a thoughtful perspective that highlights the importance of flexible, humble, and authentic leadership during recovery and beyond. Jeff also discusses the ways in which we now have a glimpse through Zoom into the lives of our colleagues and greater opportunity to access more of our humanity in our interactions.

Jeff joins the chorus in calling for regional collaboration as the 757 shapes its collective, unified goals. He believes that while we might not have all the answers at the moment, we are united by the ambiguity.

To learn more, please visit

Season Two
Update #2 — Doug Smith, Hampton Roads Alliance

Doug Smith, President & CEO of the Hampton Roads Alliance, shares a brief update on the 757 Recovery & Resiliency Action Framework. As you may recall, this framework centers around 10 committees that are each developing action plans specific to their industry or area of focus. Each committee is chaired by regional leaders and industry experts and collectively comprised of more than 100 volunteer committee members. Each committee also features a young professional/next-gen vice-chair and is supported by ODU’s Strome College of Business students.
The committees have begun their work and are committed to working together throughout this process to ensure Hampton Roads emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than ever. The conversations have been candid, engaging, and productive.
Now, we need your help. Throughout this process, there will be several opportunities for you to get involved and provide your input — the first of which is coming soon.
When the third Business Leaders Survey becomes available in ten days, we need your assistance in completing the survey. This survey will help guide our committees as they push forward in their planning efforts. This wave of the survey also includes many questions recommended by the committees which will aid in the next few phases of their work. We will notify you when the survey is released, but in the meantime, you can find the first two waves of the survey and stay up to date on committee progress at Later in September, we will have more opportunities for the public to provide input on these plans. We look forward to and appreciate your participation.
To close, COVID-19 has changed the way we live and the way we do business. We are all working hard to understand those changes and the challenges that come with them, but I am confident that through collaboration, our region will come out of this stronger than it was before. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to hearing your thoughts in the Business Leaders Survey very soon.
Episode #9— Clayton Turner, NASA Langley Research Center

Clayton P. Turner currently serves as Director of NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, where he leads a diverse group of civil servant and contractor scientists, researchers, engineers, and support staff from across the 757 and beyond. In episode nine of our 757 Recovery Planning video series, Clayton discusses how NASA has navigated through the COVID-19 pandemic. Clayton's overall picture is that the region needs to navigate as one, rather than as individual localities. Like many other experts featured in our series, he highlights the importance of our regional cooperation and just how powerful working as a collective could be, especially when discussing economic interest.
Clayton provides a unique perspective of not only how NASA is working through the challenges brought on by the pandemic, but also how this situation revealed the ongoing importance of regional job/career development. Because many jobs might not return in the same way, Clayton and his team keep their sights on early career development and education as one of the drivers of future economic development in the 757. It’s actually a pretty simple idea — it's not rocket science. Or maybe it is...
Check out all the progress our committees have made at
Episode #10— Nancy Grden, ODU Strome Entrepreneurial Center

For episode ten, we talked with Nancy Grden, Executive Director of Old Dominion University’s Strome Entrepreneurial Center. With the 757's rising COVID cases over the past few days, it's easy to feel pretty bleak about the state of the community. From Nancy’s perspective, the region still has a number of advantages sitting right in front of us. The maritime industry, along with further developments in the tech sector and exciting initiatives such as offshore wind, provides Hampton Roads with a leg up on many other communities, even in Virginia.

Nancy also discusses how during COVID, everyone has had to become an entrepreneur in the sense that they sought new and different ways to adapt to the pandemic. She points out that COVID-19 has changed how we see others and has made us think about our neighbors and coworkers more than we previously did. Nancy believes that throughout this experience, our community has become resilient which will aid recovery. She provides a charming anecdote at the end of this piece that sums up this perspective.

To learn more, visit

Episode #11— Bob Crum, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

Robert (Bob) Crum is the Executive Director of the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO) and the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC). As the region’s lead planning organization, HRPDC offers a forum for local elected officials and chief administrators to deliberate and decide on the next steps for issues of regional importance. In this episode, as previously seen in many of our 757 Recovery Planning episodes, Bob highlights regional collaboration and provides specific examples of economic development for the 757. From his vantage point, Bob believes the region cooperates much more than most people think and we need to start telling that story.

Bob asserts that while there is still a lot of uncertainty the 757 has every reason to be excited about building a stronger future together. From the Hampton Roads bridge tunnel becoming one of the most extensive construction programs in the country to the planned interconnected fiber ring around the region, he is hopeful we will continue to brace ourselves against the wave of the pandemic.

See the full 757 Recovery Planning efforts underway at

Episode #12 — Patrice Lewis, SIR Institute for Tomorrow

Episode #12 features, Patrice Lewis, a Senior Advisor at SIR Institute for Tomorrow. SIR helped lead the research-backed 757 Regional Branding Initiative in 2019, and they are currently monitoring how COVID-19 will affect the 757 from a placemaking perspective. Because of its strong diversity and beautiful environment, the region has great potential to draw employees here now that they can work from anywhere. Patrice discusses this potential and the difference between place marketing and placemaking, at the intersection of diversity and inclusion.

Patrice focuses on the shift that occurred with COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement. She emphasizes that there is a need for community and strategy so that the 757 can be a place where people want to “live, work, and play” regardless of our differences. Patrice asserts that we can’t just have diversity alone. We also need inclusivity and equitability. While place marketing will continue to highlight the 757's regional assets to get people to come, what’s really going to get people to stay is having a seat at the table and being able to not only listen to regional conversations but join them.

See the full 757 Recovery Planning efforts underway at

Episode #13— Jim Spore, Reinvent Hampton Roads

While regional collaboration has been one of the main themes of the recovery process, there is perhaps no better embodiment of this spirit than Reinvent Hampton Roads and its President and CEO, Jim Spore. Jim works daily with regional stakeholders to foster collaboration across all Hampton Roads localities, so it comes as no surprise that episode 13 focuses on working together and using our creativity in a collective manner. Jim states that in his 40-plus year career, he’s never seen more regional cooperation than now and urges everyone to push back against the idea that regional cooperation is elusive in the 757.

Jim emphasizes that regions are the foundational building block of the economy and that in the 757, we have great opportunities like a brand new industry, offshore wind. This emerging industry and the growth potential is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Throughout his video, Jim provides a number of concrete examples of regionalism done right and continues to carry the torch for collaboration and creativity in all future economic development activities, both during COVID and beyond. His excitement for and commitment to the 757 is evident as he talks about the great assets and new projects our region has as well as the regionalism that will ensure we will get through this by being stronger together.

The 757 Recovery Plan is taking shape. Get the latest at

Season Three
Episode #14 — Monique Adams, 757 Angels

In episode 14, Monique Adams, the Executive Director of 757 Angels, dives into the effects that COVID-19 has had on local entrepreneurs, and most importantly, the importance of making innovation a pillar of the 757’s economy.
She talks about how investors have significantly pulled back during the pandemic and how we, as a region, have to pivot and take on a more disciplined approach to make money. Monique understands that we need to get more competitive as a region, and to do that, we need to amplify our message better. Like many others, she believes that if we all come together, that will attract more money, capital, and talent for our region.
Episode #15 — Martin Goossen, Old Dominion University

In episode 15, Assistant Professor in the Department of Management of ODU’s Strome College of Business, Martin Goossen, joins us to discuss where we can go as a region in the long-term. Martin makes a point that many jobs can be completed from home or a distance.

He believes there are three big opportunities that the Hampton Roads now has. The first being teleworking. Second, using technologies such as robotics, 3D printing, and more to make human labor more effective and less intensive. Lastly, attracting those who are now able to work from home, from maybe large cities like DC or New York, to live in the 757. 


To learn more, visit

Episode #16 — JD Meyers II, Cox's Virginia Operations


In episode 16, J.D. Myers, Senior Vice President and Region Manager of Cox’s Virginia Operations, talks with us about how COVID-19 has sparked innovation with how the company operates with customers. A typical day for Myers consists of leading over 2,400 employees and daily operations across the state of Virginia.


He discusses the importance of keeping people connected and the impact of the pandemic on that. Despite that, Cox has figured out new ways to serve their customers better than before. Myers also touches on the value of all the localities working together toward a cohesive future.

Episode #17 — Alex Case, Cordillera Applications Group of North America

In our 17th episode, Alex Case, who is the Chief Operations Officer and VP at Cordillera Applications Group of North America, takes a deep dive at how badly COVID-19 could affect the region if we revert away from regionalism. The small consulting company that Alex runs deals with strategic risks and geopolitical analysis. During this time they have been taking an in-depth look into how COVID has been a world-wide crisis and the implications that could occur if we don’t all come together in the 757.

He discusses all of the negative impacts there could be but highlights that these won’t happen if we use our one solution: regionalism. Alex notes that if each city changes in different directions, they won’t be able to complement each other and progress forward.

See the full 757 Recovery Planning efforts underway at

Episode #18— Rear Admiral Charles Rock, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic

In our 18th episode, we are joined by Rear Admiral Charles Rock. Admiral Rock is commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic and leads all Navy shore activity at 14 installations in 20 states, including Naval Station Norfolk.

He talks of how the Navy has been able to deal with the initial impact of COVID-19 and the ways in which they have been able to navigate the pandemic with confidence. Admiral Rock also takes time to champion the group recovery effort done by both the Navy and community, who he mentions, is one and the same.

The 757 Recovery Plan is taking shape. Get the latest at

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